It Ain’t Gonna Rain Forever

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The sun shone strongly as Jason raced to the little, dingy bar that nestled under a giant banyan tree. As soon as he reached there, his eyes began to search for a familiar face in the crowd of people who preferred sipping wine over siesta. Jason heard Kevin’s voice before he saw his face.

“What do you know man, my car itself was worth over a crore…”

Sitting in the farthest corner of the bar, nursing a half-emptied glass of cheap liquor, Kevin was telling his friends of the good old luxurious life he once lived. At 45, Kevin had already seen the best and the worst in life. A bright, young fellow with a passion for earning loads of money, Kevin ventured for his maiden voyage – aboard a luxury cruise liner – as a Trainee Engineer, some twenty years ago.

His skills, passion and determination to excel at his job won him a lot of praise, promotions and popularity in the shipping circles. The latter resulted in a slew of shipping engagements at lucrative salaries. For the next 15 years, Kevin worked diligently on one of the finest assignments and earned truckloads of money.

“Wait! Kevin’s story doesn’t match with his current state, right?” You would ask.

Well, this is the second part of the story. While Kevin earned a lot of money, he also splurged in luxuries he never needed. Every year during Christmas holidays, Kevin would come home to his family (he got married to his childhood love, Jennifer, two years after starting his job) with crates full of gifts and would shower his friends and family with expensive gifts without the want of an occasion.

Add to this, he spent heavily in transforming his humble little house into a palace-styled mansion and filled its garage with luxury cars. It was raining gold and Kevin did his best to let it flow down to the sea.

But something unexpected happened about five years ago. Kevin found himself amidst a pool of middle-aged engineer, just as qualified and skilled as him, waiting endlessly for the next assignment. The downturn in the economy had slowed down the business and jobs were scarce. Months turned into years and Kevin, quite unexpectedly, became the yesteryear star engineer persuaded by shipping companies with lures of riches.

Kevin came home to an opulent house and always stepped out in his swanky car. However, his sparse savings were fast dwindling. There were bills to pay, school fees to deposit and a social status to maintain. Without any sound financial advice, Kevin’s precious funds soon withered out. And he also took to drinking heavily.

There came a time when he had to sell his house, which was his pride, and began living in austere conditions. Unable to bear their financial and social downfall, his wife left him, and the rest of his funds were sucked up in sorting legal matters.

“Kevin, brother! See I am selected as a part of the crew for that big ship,” Jason jumped up and down excitedly as he delivered this good news.

Kevin was ecstatic to hear this news. He ran and embraced his little brother.

“You’ve done it!” exclaimed Kevin.

After telling the good news to all his fellow bar mates, Kevin suddenly turned serious.

“Let’s talk,” was the only words a confused Jason heard before Kevin sat in his ramshackle car.

After a brief drive, during which no words were spoken, Kevin stopped the car near a cliff that overlooked the vast blue ocean.

“Jason, my brother,” said Kevin after both brothers settled down on a short boulder, “you are going to start what I started twenty years ago. I just want that you must not end like me.”

Tears swarming in his eyes, Kevin added, “This job will take you places you could ever dream of and will earn you money you could never think of. Yet, it is all for a little while.”

Jason listened intently to his elder brother like he always used to. Kevin was his hero. A fallen hero, unfortunately.

“If my very adventurous life has taught me anything, it is these three mantras:

“Spend on needs and opportunities. Don’t splurge on wants and indulgences.

“Invest your money before spending.

“Plan your future, today.”

As Jason mulled over the three tips given by his brother, Kevin added, “It isn’t gonna rain forever.”

Kevin also told Jason that he met a financial consultant while sorting out his legal matters and clearing his debts, who told him how Kevin could have planted a healthy sapling of investment that would have grown into a blossoming money plant, had he managed his funds properly and invested while he was still young.

‘Together with the steady monthly investments and power of compounding, your mutual funds’ portfolio would have grown to crores of rupees,’ Kevin remembered the financial mentor’s words reproachfully.

“I am still trying to get back on track with whatever frugal funds I have, through SIPs in mutual funds, thanks to this mentor’s guidance,” revealed Kevin with a hint of hope in his eyes. Kevin had also started to look for local jobs and was working on his alcohol addiction, which was hard, but he was trying.

“I will put you in touch with him soon,” added Kevin.

As the sun scaled its journey towards the horizon, Jason looked at his future life in a new light.

Even before they started for home, Jason had planned to not only begin investing for himself right from his first paycheque, but also for his hero, his brother, who is trying to get back on his feet.

Dr. Celso Fernandes, the Financial Doctor of Goa, is committed to the mission of spreading financial awareness among the people of India. A well-known speaker, Dr. Celso is also the author of four much-loved books on financial discipline and achieving  financial independence. He can be reached at +91-9422058741.

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LULLED BY BLATANT CONSUMERISM?

Wake up to financial discipline.

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“Sameer! Check-out the one-hour online sale this website is offering,” Sia squealed with joy as she handed over the entertainment section of the newspaper to her husband.

“Wow! They are giving 70% discount on TVs with latest features, and look, there are smart watches for half the price!” exclaimed Sameer, almost jumping off his chair.

“And clothes, by golly! As if they are throwing away such beautiful dresses and make-up kits for peanuts!” added Sia.

Little Myra was getting ready for her school, and her parents’, almost juvenile, attitude towards mindless online shopping made her take frequent sorrowful sighs. All of twelve years, Myra was wise beyond her years. She was calm, composed and quite practical in her ways. A spirited young girl, Myra was good in sports and studies; but what distinguished her from the rest of girls in her class was her deep concern for the environment and her belief in living a minimalistic existence.

Of course, her orientation cannot be attributed to her parenting. Far from it, Myra has seen her parents splurging money and other resources like there is no tomorrow. The frequent house parties, the sumptuous dinners, and above all, mindless online shopping every other day.  While Myra’s father had a weakness for gadgets and expensive watches – he changed three TVs in less than two years and an astounding five phones within the same period – her mother wanted to have every dress that hit the market. As a result, Myra’s home was slowly turning into a zoo of impulsively bought and cruelly discarded electronic items, knick-knacks and clothes flowing out of closets.

“Don’t you think you must not spend so much on things that you don’t need?” Myra confronted her parents one day.

“Don’t worry dear,” said her mother. “We are well off,” added her father with a smug smile.

Myra couldn’t comprehend how her parents were well off when they squandered every penny they earned on useless items. This was in utter contradiction to her dear Grandpa’s style of living. Myra idolised her paternal grandfather who owned a sprawling bungalow in the suburbs. Every bit rich, Myra’s grandfather showed no tendency towards impulsive buying. On the contrary, he always encouraged Myra to conserve all resources and spend only on things that you need, and not want.

He also taught Myra to be smart with money and invest spare money in mutual funds for a long period.

“Like a tree,” Grandpa told Myra, “your investments would also bear more and more fruits with time.”

Grandpa also taught Myra that being minimalistic is the only way to save the environment, too! He told her that every piece of electronic gadgets and appliances are equipped with precious metals and stones mined from the belly of the earth, and when we keep dumping our well-serving gadget for a higher version, we end up wasting precious natural resources.

Next day, the atmosphere at Myra’s house was completely opposite to the previous. The discussion over morning tea today was not about any mega sale but a ‘mega credit card bill’ that sat heavily on the coffee table.

With a sombre countenance, Myra’s father mumbled, “how would we be able to pay Myra’s fee this quarter?”

“Hmm, all our salary will go into paying this credit card bill,” worried her mother.

“Why! Where did all our hefty salaries go? Myra’s fee is a small fraction of our monthly salary, yet we are finding it difficult to pay it. What went wrong?” her father muttered, sounding very depressed.

At this point, Myra spoke up. “But I thought we are well off! Why can’t we pay my fee on time?”

“It looks like we overspent a little, darling. But don’t you worry, I will take a small loan to pay it on time. You don’t bother yourself with this,” her father casually answered.

Myra was beyond herself after hearing such a nonchalant response from her father.

“It’s time they learn something about financial discipline,” she mused.

With a deep breath, Myra set down to talk to her parents and make them realise that their impulsive buying is not only causing them the present financial trouble, but it could also lead to massive financial distress. Myra’s parents seemed to be unaware about the repercussions of overspending, and she had to remind them each item that they purchased, sighting its utility, and which, now, lay unused in the storeroom. A quick total – Myra secretly collected the invoices of items purchased online (as her parents would throw it away along with the packaging) – revealed an incredibly high sum of money spent in the past two years on online shopping.

“If you had invested this money in mutual funds, you would have earned double-digit compounded interest over a long period, say ten years,” she told her parents, who gaped at her with baffled expressions. They had no clue that their daughter is so smart and practical.

“And there is no need to take a loan to pay my fee. I have a little portfolio, managed by grandpa; I will ask him to redeem some units to pay off the fee,” said Myra, “but on one condition. No mindless online shopping.”

As she picked up her school bag and water bottle to catch her school bus, Myra’s parents stood speechlessly, slowly waking up from the lull of blatant consumerism, and warming up to the idea of financial discipline.

Breaking Boundaries

Breaking Boundaries

In a nation where the rich get richer and the lesser fortunate, poorer, Nilesh had a tough time to rise from the utter poverty of his childhood days to be a part of the middle-class multitude of India.

He distinctly remembers the cruelty one is subjected to if s/he is born to poor parents. There were days when they were lucky to have two square meals in the day, and extremely fortunate if a year passed by with no one getting terribly sick.

Resolute to change his economic condition, Nilesh worked very hard right from a very young age. During the day, he would help his father in doing odd jobs or just roam about foraging for food. But as the night would converge, and the bone-weary members of his family drifted in fitful slumber, Nilesh would rush to the night school run by an NGO. He studied hard, begged and borrowed for college fee and cleared a tough banking examination to finally bid adieu to poverty.

A sincere worker, Nilesh excelled at his job and got his due promotions, too. However, since in the government-owned bank he worked, higher promotions were based on a combination of sincerity and seniority, Nilesh could expect senior roles only towards the end of his career. This meant that after twenty-odd years in the bank, Nilesh’s salary was always only a little more than the rising household expenditures. Yet, he broke a class barrier and was leading a relatively comfortable life, and was grateful for it, too.

But a question would persistently rake his mind, “How would it feel to be rich?”

A brooding man, Nilesh constantly thought of ways to provide for a better, more comfortable life for his son, Aryan, who had just passed high-school with flying colours.

Of course, education was one way of hoping for a promising corporate career and the subsequent perks that Aryan could enjoy in future – but what if things didn’t go as expected? What if Aryan fails to get admission in a premier college? What if the economy goes into recession?

There were several fearful questions swarming in Nilesh’s mind. The most fearful being, “Would Aryan never be able to break the class boundary and live a life of abundance?”

Luckily for Nilesh, his unsettling questions were adequately answered by a leading financial expert who was called by the bank for a talk on financial awareness.

The financial expert showed Nilesh and his colleagues a brilliant way of creating wealth out of small, regular investments in mutual funds over a long period. Nilesh could not believe his eyes when the expert revealed growth charts showing tiny investments (as low as INR 500 per month) turning into portfolios worth lakhs of rupees over a decade.

As the session ended, Nilesh rushed to the expert and requested a meeting with him, which the latter gladly granted.

At the appointed hour, Nilesh, along with his wife, Sujata, met the financial expert in his office.

After listening to Nilesh’s life story, and his burning questions about ensuring a life of abundance for Aryan, the financial expert assured him that all his worries can be easily put to an end by doing simple things. He gave Nilesh and Sujata the following golden mantras:

  • Small, consistent investments make a big difference. Anyone can break his or her financial boundaries and get rich in his/her lifetime.
  • Time is money. If little sums of money are invested regularly in the market through SIPs (Systematic Investment Plans) in mutual funds for over a decade, huge wealth can be created; thanks to the power of compounding in mutual funds.
  • Invest before spending as this would put a cap on unnecessary spending.
  • Teach your kid to be financially disciplined so that they could distinguish between needs and wants.
  • Buy adequate life insurance as well as get Mediclaim to protect your precious savings and investments.

By the end of the hour, and with the help of the expert’s guidance, Nilesh started a SIP in Aryan’s name with an intent to keep increasing the SIP amount in accordance to his salary growth.

As he thanked the financial expert for his valuable time and advice, and promised to keep meeting him to discuss his financial goals and investment plans, Nilesh felt as if a big boulder is taken off his chest. He was resolute once again to break the class boundaries, ensuring that his son, Aryan, would live a financially independent life full of riches; a life that eluded Nilesh thus far.

Navemarg Financial Consultants and Dr. Celso Fernandes, Goa’s Financial Doctor and author of several successful books including ‘Who Says Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees’, are Goa’s financial literacy crusaders. Dr. Celso and his team are teaching the Goan Youth and parents to be financially aware and disciplined. Follow updates on free seminars and other news at https://www.facebook.com/NaveMarg1969/ and https://www.facebook.com/navemarg.

 

5 Financial Tips You Must Give Your Teenage Child

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Mahesh earned quite well. A top management executive at a leading IT Indian MNC, his package was, as a few of his college friends called, ‘ridiculously high’. Well, Mahesh deserved every penny that credited in his account each month. A high-flying executive, literally, Mahesh was continually scaling the globe; from Europe to North America to Asia. He was instrumental in cracking big-ticket deals for his company and setting up new offices around the world.

A man of few words with stringent self-conduct codes, Mahesh rarely missed his exercise regimes, and inspired by several iconic leaders, lived a frugal existence. However, his only splurge was his son, Vivaan. To compensate for the lack of time he had for his son, Mahesh saw to it that his son gets whatever he wants, “after all, you get young only once,” he would say with a smile.

At 17 years, Vivaan had more worldly possessions and monthly allowance than all his friends combined. From the latest PlayStation to high-end smartphones to frequent splurges on movies and parties, Vivaan had everything that any of his collegemates could ever imagine. Yet, his demands were increasing by the day. Realising the fact that money is not a rare commodity for his dad, Vivaan lost all respect for it. He was continually surrounded by opportunists who would praise him for his looks and skills just to be treated in swanky restaurants for free.

Suhana, Vivaan’s mother, was not at all happy with his uncontrolled spending habits. She had seen one of her cousins ruining his life as a result of squandering all his inheritance in a short span of time. To add to her worry, Mahesh would always brush her protests aside saying that there is nothing terrible about showering his lovely child with nice gifts and money.

But she knew that Mahesh was spoiling Vivaan silly, and if he gets into the habit of overspending, he will live all his life in financial distress, no matter how well he earned!

On a chance meeting with an old acquaintance in the shopping mall, Suhana learnt about a well-respected financial mentor who devoted his life to spreading financial literacy among the youth of the city. As she heard about the financial mentor’s work and the resulting impact of his work on the society, she became resolute to take his help.

During long Christmas vacations, Mahesh was finally at home for more than a few days. Vivaan, too, had his college holidays. Suhana chose this time to invite the experienced financial mentor to her place over high-tea.

As it turned out, Mahesh was acquainted with the financial mentor and held him in high regards, too. Much to Suhana’s relief, the stage was set for an open, casual and amicable discussion among the three men.

Vivaan was much impressed with the financial mentor’s thought process and how, besides earning himself an ever-increasing pool of money, is now creating positive social impact. Mahesh, too, for once, was listening to someone who bluntly pointed out that he is doling out way too much money on his son than necessary.

After a discussion that started at high-tea and went on till supper, the financial mentor gave the following five tips to Vivaan, and asked him to get these framed and nailed on his bedroom wall:

  1. The flow of money is not perennial. It never has, it never would.
  2. Establish your relationship with money. The ideal one would be, ‘the means to meet ends’.
  3. Distinguish between Needs & Wants. Don’t splurge money on things you can live without.
  4. Invest before you spend. This will help you in spending only on your needs and will help curb impulsive buying.
  5. Plant your money-plant, today. Small, yet regular investments have the power to build a significant, ever-growing, portfolio over a long period, say ten years.

These simple, yet powerful tips made an impact not only on Vivaan, but also his father, Mahesh, who decided that instead of buying expensive gadgets for his son every now and then, he would start investing a decent sum in mutual funds through SIPs (Systematic Investment Plans). Vivaan also promised his father and the financial mentor that he would immediately curb his extravagance, and on taking up a job, will keep contributing to the SIPs his father is planning to start.

That evening was one of the happiest for Suhana. She smiled looking at Vivaan and Mahesh’s faces when the financial mentor told them how much Vivaan’s portfolio would have grown by now had he started investing a fraction of his monthly allowance a few years ago.

The next morning brought a lot of positive changes at Suhana’s house. Vivaan and Mahesh made a trip to the financial mentor’s office and requested him to help them start SIPs in a good mutual fund for Vivaan. Suhana was doubly excited as not only Vivaan, Mahesh, too, showed sincerity towards embracing financial discipline. He proved this by having a stock of all his unnecessary club memberships, reviewing investments in traditional investments (which, to his surprise, were earning him negative returns post inflation) and fixing other financial leakages.

Since that fateful evening a few years ago, Mahesh and Vivaan have come a long way, as far as financial discipline goes. Mahesh’s ‘ridiculously high’ package seems even greater with lesser pilferage and drawings for his son. He has also found his relationship with money; he contributes generously towards a program that provides IT-enabled teaching to lesser privileged children. Vivaan, on the other hand, is now an ambassador of financial literacy and helps his financial mentor in spreading it among his friends and peers. No more reckless with money, Vivaan sold most of his fancy possessions and invested the money in his mutual fund as a top-up. No wonder, he is heading for a bright future with the rare gift of financial independence on his side.

How to Insure Your Child’s Future Against Financial Troubles?

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The younger generation is choosing to wade the untrodden path, career-wise. Gone are the days when children set aside their passion and talent to take up mundane jobs that promised a ‘stable income’ and a ‘settled life.’

The youngsters today want to express themselves and want to be recognized for their talent, and not by their jobs or qualifications. And why not; thanks to the digital invasion, people are doing more than good by following their passion!

From human jukebox to standup comedian to travel blogger, it seems that the Gen Y has numerous career possibilities today. So, why shouldn’t one follow their dreams and put their unique talent to use?

However, as a parent of a teenage child, you find yourself constantly worrying about your child’s future financial security. You know that the formal education you have planned for your child may not help if s/he wants to follow their passion. And you don’t have the heart to force your children to prepare themselves for regular jobs, setting aside their dreams and talent.

Much like what Anirudh felt whenever he spared a thought about his darling daughter, Anya’s future financial security. At 15, she is already a talented classical singer; her mother had her trained under reputed Gurus. Anya is a favourite in her school, and she lends her voice in almost all school events. In fact, she won the local ‘Golden Voice’ contest in her city. There is no doubt in anybody’s mind that Anya would become a successful professional singer and her sweet, crooning voice would be heard all across the country.

Still, Anirudh was a little troubled. Though he was very proud of her daughter’s talent and believed in her, he knew that professional singing is a highly competitive field….

Through friends, Anirudh had heard true stories of artists who struggled all their lives for one chance to fame, living in a poor financial situation. Whenever he thought about Anya struggling to make a solid career in the music industry, living on a pittance, his heart would sink.

But everything was to change when Anirudh met his wealthy distant cousin in a family wedding. Paarth, a successful businessman, philanthropist and environmentalist, was highly regarded in the family. Over a couple of drinks, Annirudh told Paarth about his predicament.

After patiently hearing Anirudh’s story, Paarth gently told him that his problem could be solved in a snap. Startled, Annirudh asked him, “How,” rather incredulously.

Paarth told Anirudh that he must take steps to make Anya financially independent, starting from the next day.

A little puzzled, Annirudh asked Paarth how could that be achieved?

To this, Paarth told him, “While you must be making provisions for Anya’s higher studies, and perhaps her wedding, too; you must also start investing something with an aim to support her during the period of her career struggle.”

“But brother, with limited means and a good lifestyle, it is hard for us to invest anything more than what we are doing now,” said Anirudh dejectedly.

“What if I say that by investing only what you or Anya spend on a weekend outing, you can still build a substantial portfolio for her over the period of next ten years?” asked Paarth with a twinkle in his eyes.

“That would be magic!” exclaimed Anirudh. “But magic doesn’t happen in real life,” he added grimly.

“Dear brother, magic does happen in real world. And the name of this magic is compounding,” Paarth said with a chuckle.

Anirudh, who had been investing all his money in fixed deposits and PF, was clueless about mutual funds and the power of compounding they come with. Paarth explained his cousin about how mutual funds work and how the power of compounding can make his portfolio grow at an astonishing rate.

“Regular investments in mutual funds over a long period, say 8 – 10 years, would help you create a substantial portfolio. And the best thing is that you can start investing with as low as INR 500!”

Anirudh was pleasantly surprised to hear this, and he vowed that he would soon start a mutual fund SIP (Systematic Investment Plan) for Anya.

“But that alone would not be sufficient,” warned Paarth, “you must teach Anya to distinguish between needs and wants, to prioritize her expenditures, and above all, instill the habit of regular savings and investments in her.”

Anirudh left for home that day rich with financial wisdom. A clear objective was shaping in his mind as he imagined the picture of a self-sufficient Anya working hard to make a place for herself in her chosen field. And a smile played on his lips.

Financial literacy and financial discipline ensure that our young ones grow into financially independent adults, living a stress-free life and chase all their dreams without falling short of money. This is the vision with which Dr. Celso Fernandes, along with the team of NaveMarg Financial Consultants, reaches out to the youth of the country and mentors them as they realize their financial goals. Dr. Celso Fernandes gladly offers his time, without any fee, to young students and their parents who seek financial advice. One can also attend his various free seminars conducted across Goa and neighbouring states. Find event updates on https://www.facebook.com/navemarg.

 

 

 

Banking Only on Good Education for Your Child’s Future?

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Benjamin Franklin famously said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest,” and nobody would agree more to this ideology than Indian parents. From generations, parents have been focusing on their child(ren)’s education to the extent of paranoia. Millions of families, rich and poor, spend way too much time and money on their kids’ education with a singular aim – to ensure that their children get high-paying jobs and live in abundance. For this cherished dream, Indian parents sacrifice most good things, and at times, even the necessary things in life.

Touching; but, can good education alone ensure that your child(ren) would lead a financially comfortable life. Can good education ensure they will always have enough to live a lavish life and accumulate wealth, too?

Unfortunately, earning a lot of money and having a lot of money are two different things. While you splurge on your offspring’s nourishment, both physical and academic, it is equally important to teach them financial discipline, so that they become wise enough to spend what they earn in future judiciously.

The Story of Two Friends

Karan and Sameer met 35 years ago on their first day at work. Both had passed the entrance test for the government job with flying colours. Thanks to the shared value-sets and interests, both men soon became very good friends. Over the years, they worked as a team, rejoiced in each other’s success and mourned for each other’s loss. Their houses, too, were in the same neighbourhood, which meant that their families also grew close.

Karan and Sameer both had a son each, and like their parents, both friends paid a great deal of attention on their kids’ academic orientation. Right from the time both the children started school, they were sent to a slew of tuitions, workshops and mentorship classes. Sameer and Karan, in spite of limited financial means, left no stone unturned to provide the best of educational opportunities to the kids.

The single-minded approach towards the education of their children paid-off well, and both the kids scored top ranks in their respective schools and went to the premium institutes for professional education.

At the brink of their retirement, both Sameer and Karan were happy and content with their lives. Sameer’s son, Aakash, was based in Hong Kong and headed a big investment bank. Karan’s son, Krish, was the CEO of a promising startup in the Silicon Valley, USA.

However, a rude jolt was to rock Sameer’s life. It was all over in the news and papers; Aakash was arrested by Hong Kong police in connection to a financial fraud that plundered thousands of people of their life savings. The media announced that there was concrete evidence to implicate Aakash.

Sameer was crestfallen. All the values of integrity and honesty that he had taught little Aakash were in vain. Karan consoled his friend and tried his best to save him from the ridiculing public eye.

Over weeks, the real picture surfaced. The media reported that Aakash led an extravagant lifestyle and spent incredulous sums of money on hosting lavish parties, expensive cars, luxury yachts and private jet trips. Soon, he was spending way more than his salary. Unable to make wise financial decisions and a reluctance to forgo his dazzling lifestyle, Aakash took huge debts, and in a hope to quickly repay the debt, gambled even more. Borrowing from powerful and ruthless individual money-lenders meant that filing bankruptcy or defaulting was out of the option. Siphoning money from the customer portfolios seemed to be the only way out to him.

Krish, on the other hand, had made different choices in his life. Choosing a simple lifestyle, Krish followed his father’s teachings on attaining financial discipline. He remembered how his father would tell him to ‘establish a relationship with money’, or ‘to distinguish between needs and wants’. Krish, unlike Aakash, was not baffled with the power of money or the things it could buy. He had a clear relationship with money and had specific goals on spending his fortune. Before turning 30, Krish had become a globally respected and recognized figure for generously donating money to various charities, funding startups from underdeveloped countries and contributing towards the research to find cures to deadly diseases. Krish was taught well by his father that money is just a tool. It’s not wise to treat it as divine or devious, but to use it for the benefit of your loved ones, your fellow-countrymen and the world as a whole.

***

Today, the dusty curtain falls on Sameer’s supposedly ‘golden years’ as he prepares himself for fighting a long, expensive legal battle and hopes to survive on the meagre pension he would get. Unfortunately, Sameer, not unlike Karan, had used a majority of his retirement fund on his son’s education.

***

For the parents of teenage children, there is still hope. Financial literacy is a must to make your children truly independent in their life. Instead of fuelling their cupidity for fancy things that don’t add any value to their life, motivate your children to save and invest on regular intervals. When your children make good spending decisions, invest before spending and understand financial markets, there is no stopping them from creating substantial wealth over time. The financial independence can assure that your children will lead their life the way they want without compromising on their children’s (your grandchildren’s) academic and physical nourishment; a luxury you probably didn’t have.

Investing in mutual funds is the easiest and the most transparent way of ensuring high growth over a long period. Did you know that you can start a mutual fund SIP with as low as INR 500, and earn a compounded rate of growth, beating returns from any other asset class?

Are You Making Your Teenage Child Financially Independent?

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Parenting a teenage child is an anxious few years. From acne to puberty to board exams, and that constant worry about the future; taking care of many things are just as stressful for parents as they are for the teenage child.

Without fail, the most important thing in any parent’s mind during these agonizing years is the higher education of their child(ren). From academic counseling to education fairs to scouting of universities, parents put all their strength in ensuring that their child opts for the most rewarding academic stream, passes tough entrance exams and get admitted in a prestigious college.

Why not, after all, a good education is an insurance for your child’s future success!

While it is true to the extent that a good education will provide means and opportunities to take up a well-paying job for your child, it is another matter how your child handles her money in the future.

The skill to earn money cannot negate the tendency to spend impulsively, and increasingly youngsters are courting financial distress in the early years of their working life. The sudden significant rise in lifestyle expenses doesn’t help the case either. More often than not, young professionals live a flashy life and spend a lot on gadgets, accessories, apparels, clubs, and eating-out, leaving nothing for savings or investments. In such a scenario, irrespective of the monthly package, many young professionals overspend and get into the vicious cycle of debt, thanks to credit cards.

Nysa is quite familiar with such a predicament, as she suffered it firsthand. An intelligent and smart girl, Nysa was raised with love and ethical values. Her parents, both working, saw that she gets everything she needs and never shared their financial position with her. Soon after college, she got admitted into a good MBA college and subsequently got a job in a large MNC. The job took her away from home to a different city. There, her living expenses were significant, but her fat salary covered them.

The problem started when Nysa made a few friends from the office and would frequently hang out with them. This meant going to expensive clubs and restaurants, spontaneous weekend trips and tons of shopping. Soon, she reached a spot where the last penny from her salary would be spent days before the next salary credit. She used her credit card to cover up the expenses for those days. But soon enough, she was getting huge credit card bills that would take away a chunk of her salary, leaving her in a chronic cycle of debt. Her parents, too, were not able to help her as they had already invested a lot in Nysa’s education.

Even with a plush job and a good education, Nysa found it challenging to get out of the debt, at a time when her very good friend, Tanya, was not only planning her wedding but had also made the deposit on her new home.

But can this seemingly plausible future of your teenage child be reversed?

Well, yes, and that too, without much sweat.

Let’s look at what different happened in Tanya’s life. She, like Nysa, belonged to an educated, middle-class family with a similar economic background as Nysa’s parents. Her parents, too, wished that Tanya gets the best of education, and subsequently, a well-paying job (an engineer in an IT company, Tanya lived in the same city as Nysa and earned almost same as her).

But besides encouraging her to focus on studies, they also taught Tanya to be responsible with her money. Tanya’s parents often discussed their financial position with her. They also rewarded Tanya for avoiding unnecessary expenditures and best utilizing her pocket-money. Tanya learned to distinguish between her needs and wants at a very early age, which enabled her to spend on important things such as acquiring new skills, over the impulse of wasting money on clothes and shoes.

When Tanya next met with Nysa and saw her in financial distress, she took over Nysa’s hay-wire financial situation.

To begin with, she convinced Nysa to move out of the expensive flat and live with her. This saved a lot of money for Nysa. Next, Tanya apportioned a budget for Nysa’s monthly expenses and made her pledge to stay away from impulsive online shopping.

Within three months, Nysa’s finances were back on track. She thanked Tanya for helping her come out of the debt trap. Nysa also asked her secret behind living a financially independent life, to which Tanya told her what her parents had taught her when she was in school:
– Distinguish between Needs and Wants
– Invest before you spend
– Get in touch with a financial mentor (can be someone from the family)

Tanya also told Nysa about investing in mutual funds through SIPs, where anyone can start investing from as low as INR 500.00 and benefit from the compounding effect and the volatile play of the market, provided the investment period is long, say about ten years.

It turned out that Tanya’s parents started to invest some amount in mutual funds when she was just fourteen. Over the years, her parents increased the monthly SIP amount and later, after getting the job, Tanya contributed an even higher sum each month. Her portfolio had grown all these years handsomely, giving her the freedom of having a second income with which she plans to meet all her essential life expenditures.

Teaching kids to earn money is essential. But it is equally important to teach them to manage it well.

Dr. Celso is one of the leading financial mentors in Goa and a recognized author of three insightful books on managing finances. He actively participates in social welfare causes and drives financial literacy among the youth of the country.

The Rocket-Science Behind Getting Rich (For College Students)

Rocket Science

Wonder if there was a PG Diploma in ‘The Science of Getting Rich’! Or a certification course in ‘Creating Sustainable Wealth’?

There is no need because the rocket science behind getting rich is not rocket science at all!

If there is anything, it is a mix of awareness, discipline and patience.

Today, we will decode the five steps to becoming rich:

Think Rich – It certainly doesn’t mean that you start feeling rich and begin spending on things you can’t afford. Thinking rich means promising yourself that you will take all necessary steps to getting rich. In our last blog, we said you must sort your relationship with money. It is very important to figure out what are your objectives for creating wealth – buying luxuries, securing your and your loved ones’ future or giving back to the society. Whatever may be your reason for accumulating wealth, one thing is clear, you cannot afford to be ignorant about money and its use. So, first, make a promise to yourself that you need to become wealthy by being financially aware and disciplined.

Understand How Money Grows – There is an adage that money attracts money, which can be translated to, ‘more investments means more returns’. So, if you have Rs. 10,000 in your pocket – would you squander it over clothes and shoes or invest it so that it swells your portfolio and gives more money in returns? Once you realise this fundamental nature of money, you are halfway across the road to becoming a millionaire. So, before you spend money, save and invest a fraction of it to keep your portfolio growing.

Become a Smart Spender – Don’t be a cautious spender, be a smart spender – know which expenditures give you the most returns. By suggesting that you may invest more and more money, we don’t mean that you stop spending altogether. It means that you make informed decisions on things that you want to spend your money on. For example, instead of overspending on fancy meals and outings, you could pay for a workshop or a certification course that will add to your quiver of skills and knowledge. More often than not, college students fail to make a rational decision on how to spend their limited cash. Many students have revealed that they missed on good educational opportunities because they were left with no money to spare after binge shopping and other splurges. Don’t be impulsive. People in control of their desires always find themselves prepared to tackle challenges.

Be Disciplined – Being disciplined in your life helps you not only to succeed in your studies and career, but it also enables you to grow rich! When you manage your time well, meticulously plan for future events and prepare for tests, tasks and other challenges well in advance, you invariably plan your finances, too. Ever noticed a friend who always has the money to pay for dance classes as well as for the college picnic – even when s/he gets the same pocket money as you? The verdict is clear; disciplined students have a better handle on their financial position.

Find a Rich Mentor – Interact with your wealthy uncle or aunt or get in touch with a seasoned professional to get tips on creating wealth. In spite of your perception, in most cases, these valuable bits of advice would come at no cost at all! Once you have determined to be rich, changed the way you lead your life and understood the concept of money, simply turn to a wealthy mentor who has walked the road to riches and has a lot of experiences and wisdom to share. Don’t hesitate; everyone likes to have a good disciple who is willing to learn!

Many students, at this point, would ask, “What difference would it make if we saved a little sum after curbing our expenses? A few hundred rupees won’t make us rich, isn’t it?”

Well, as the famous saying by Lao-Tzu goes, ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,’ your first tiny steps towards wealth creation would lead you to riches over the course of time. Did you know that you can start investing in mutual funds (through SIPs) with just Rs 500 per month?

With time on your side, you stand to make the most of your little, yet regular investments – thanks to the power of compounding – and create a significant portfolio in next ten years, giving you ample financial freedom to pursue your dreams and passions.

Dr. Celso Fernandes is Goa’s leading financial advisor and a crusader of financial literacy amongst the youth of India. An author and a friend to many happy families who have benefitted from his easy-to-follow financial advisory, Dr. Celso – through his firm, Nave Marg, also drives the ‘Super Young Achievers Club’, guiding students to embrace financial literacy, helping them become millionaires before they turn thirty years of age.

Announcement: Dr. Celso is conducting a free seminar on ‘How to Achieve Financial Freedom’, especially for college students, at the Holy Spirit Parish Hall (2nd Floor) at 11:30 am on 29th April 2018. Students and parents are cordially invited.

 

5 Things You Can Start in College to Ensure Financial Freedom Early in Your Life

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Most often, securing a future, especially in our country, means attaining higher education and landing a plush job. Wish that alone was true.

A TimesJobs survey published recently revealed a scary picture where as high as 50% of Indian employees are in severe financial distress. This comes as a surprise as the Indian economy is faring much better than most advanced nations, and also, the employees’ take-home packages are much higher than what they used to be a decade-and-half ago!

The reasons for the rising financial stress among the Indian working class are aplenty; from the ever-rising inflation to compulsive online buying to increasing cost of maintaining a good lifestyle. However, the major problem behind the mounting financial stress among Indians is owing to lack of financial literacy and financial discipline.

Financial stress leads to depression, unhappiness and pain.

Yes, while we like to believe that we are financially disciplined and know how to put money to its best use, the truth is that a majority of us never feature ‘financial planning’ in our list of priorities. While we pass out the college with flying colours and a soaring spirit, take up important, well-paying jobs; still, most of us struggle to create sufficient funds for emergencies, major life events such as the wedding or retirement.

“So, what can we do to avoid a future filled with financial distress?” you’d ask.

The good news is that if you are in school or college, there is still hope for you to ensure a future that is financially secure. You have the gift of time.

Here are five simple things that you can do while you are still in college to ensure that you take the right path towards a future of financial abundance.

Assess Your ‘Money Emotion’: Even before you plan to work towards attaining financial independence, find out your perception of money. Do you find it evil or overly tempting? Do you feel it is the cause of all evils or you find it important to alleviate social pains and meet emergencies? Whatever may your ‘money emotion’ be, evaluate it in a real-world scenario and map it with your dreams and ambitions.

Make Financial Goals: It is much easier to chalk out your long and short-term financial goals once you understand your psychological relationship with money vis-à-vis your life goals. Of course, your life is going to take many twists and turns, and it is difficult to predict the lifestyle you would eventually have, but, in any case, you need to be prepared for some life-events that cost a lot of money (wedding, your first car, buying a house, starting a family, striking off items on your bucket list, etc.).

Differentiate Between Needs & Wants: Needs are the things that you require to survive. Wants are desires you have. So, water is your need; a Smartphone isn’t. Often, in order to satiate our cravings, we make utterly senseless shopping decisions and end up spending more than what we can afford. Credit cards, if not managed astutely, can fuel chronic debt cycles, and as a result, mounting financial stress. There is no other way of conjuring money out of thin air than letting it stay unspent in your pocket. So, choose wisely between what you want and what you need when you go out shopping the next time.

Invest Before Spending: If you’d believe one of the world’s wealthiest men, investing before spending is the mantra to grow rich. Warren Buffet famously said that before paying anyone else, we must pay ourselves. This means that we must make some investments (ideally 25% of the income) before we splurge our money on wants and necessities. You would wonder where to invest the meager amount that is just a fraction of your pocket money? Well, we will come to it in the next point.

 Commit to Long-Term Regular Investments

Your precious savings – earned by sacrificing your wants – must not rot in piggy banks and fixed deposits and savings accounts. You would want to earn the best return on your investment, isn’t it? This is why you must choose a good mutual fund and invest regularly through SIPs (Systematic Investment Plans). You can start with as low as INR 500/- per month and earn a handsome return on your investments. However, it is important to be disciplined in paying SIPs regularly (increasing them as you start earning), month after month, at least for ten years to ensure a huge portfolio that can take care of expenses related to any life event.

Did you know that if invested smartly, your money starts working for you, earning more and more money without you having to sweat for it?

Start now. Invest regularly. Let the effect of compounding increase your pool of money.

 

Dr. Celso Fernandes, Goa’s Financial Doctor, is on a mission to create awareness about financial literacy and financial independence, especially amongst the youngsters. He is the author of three much-loved books and actively participate in various social causes.

How to Become a Millionaire Before Turning 30?

Most youngsters scrape through their graduation, funding their lifestyle with the pocket money given by generous parents, dreaming of a day when they would have an endless pool of money without even working for it! A perfect dream – you’d say. But then, that’s just a dream – or, is it?

How to grow rich
Grow your wealth with financial discipline

Well, just like every other teen, Salvio had recently joined graduation and wondered how early he could start earning, and saving, to build his magical pool of money. While his peers dreamt of bikes, movies and beer, Salvio dreamt of being a millionaire at 30. But, could he achieve it?

At the young age of 17, in his first month at college, Salvio’s father took him along to attend a financial seminar. And that, dear readers, was the turning point in Salvio’s life. It was the day Salvio discovered the secret to financial freedom – the proverbial road to riches. As soon as he returned home, Salvio decided to expand his knowledge by reading more about wealthy people to emulate their success. He was surprised to learn that most rich people lived below their means and delayed gratification. This means, they did not spend on expensive cars or mansions but saved money before spending it.

He noticed that all rich people had a few things in common that had actually made them rich. Salvio observed that wealthy people:

  • Set long-term goals
  • Avoid frivolous spending
  • Start saving and investing early in life
  • Live below their means

Today, Salvio is 29 years old. He has been investing in various mutual funds through SIPs for the past 12 years and holds just short of a million rupees across his investments. By the end of 2018, as he turns 30, he would have achieved his goal of being a millionaire before 30!

 Here’s how Salvio fulfilled a dream most people only think about:

At the age of 17, Salvio set his goal of being a millionaire before 30. Besides, he wanted a self-growing pool of money that would regenerate each time he took out a small portion to service his requirements, such as funding his higher education or helping his parents fund emergency repairs to their family home.

Unlike his other friends who spent their evenings over coffee, movies and unnecessary shopping, Salvio paid fifty percent of his pocket money at the beginning of each month into a systematic investment plan suggested by his father’s wealthy friend, Uncle Sebastian. While it was difficult in the beginning, Salvio was soon able to differentiate between his wants and needs – for example, he needed a healthy breakfast to start his day, but he only wanted a cup of cappuccino with his friends during lunch break. Or, he did need a pair of sports shoes to exercise, but buying that expensive pair of white sneakers was just a waste of money.

Within a year of investing, Salvio was able to see the result of his discipline. The seed of his future wealth had germinated. The money in his portfolio had started growing bit-by-bit. Now, Uncle Sebastian advised Salvio to increase his income by taking up a part-time job. He also advised Salvio to pay himself first – that is, use 20 percent of his salary to feed his portfolio, and then use the remaining amount for necessities.

Starting with only 2,000 rupees a month at the age of 17, Salvio consistently increased the amount he invested as his income increased. He also invested all the monetary gifts from family and friends into his portfolio through ‘Top-ups’ and continues to do so. As a result, his portfolio continued to grow, and, over time, the magic of compounding worked to help him realise his dream of turning a millionaire before 30!

From this very fund, Salvio took out money to pay for a diploma course at 24 that added to his skill set and helped him secure a promotion as well as a better salary. He also withdrew lump sums to take his family for a vacation and pay for some urgent repairs to their home. Today, as Salvio grows richer, many of his classmates are living paycheque to paycheque, only dreaming about the wealth Salvio continues to grow.

Salvio’s golden rules

Just like Salvio, you can also fulfil your dream of being a millionaire before 30. All you need to do is:

  • Differentiate between needs and wants
  • Save money before spending
  • Start investing your savings today

NaveMarg and Dr Celso Fernandes, author of three much-loved books and a leading crusader for financial literacy in Goan youth, help students secure a brighter future by spreading financial awareness and giving personalised guidance on choosing the right investments. Dr Celso believes that if all the students become financially free and not depend on their jobs to survive, they can pursue careers of their choice, create and innovate lovely things and be happy and caring citizens of India.